Corinne Knowles

Lecturer: Extended Studies Unit
Facilitator: TAI Mentoring Project
Rhodes University

We are all (thankfully) different, and so respond differently to times of crisis. Our living circumstances and responsibilities are different too. Some of us relish this time of lock-down for the extra time it gives us to do our things; and some of us feel overwhelmed by noise and thoughts and messages and uncompleted tasks. What are some of the ways to approach our work during lockdown? 

  1. Recognise and appreciate your uniqueness. You are not that other person who is coping so well and doing all of the things, or that person who is clearly in the grip of manic anxiety. You are you. It might be useful to remind yourself of the things that make you the interesting, unique person that you are, so that you can recognise and put to good use your distinctive energies.
  2. Don’t judge. This is a good time to acknowledge that everyone is adjusting to change, and that depending on circumstances you cannot possibly know about, not everyone is able to look at or do the things the way you do. Use the time to notice, with interest, the wide variety of ways in which people are responding to the crisis.
  3. Acknowledge thoughts and behaviours that are not helpful. We all have them, and we know how easy it is to let them suck our energy. Spend a few moments every day to remind yourself of your fault-lines, so that you can see them coming, and devise strategies to avoid them. Remember too the power of music to change a mood, put on your favourite tunes, and shift the energy.
  4. Be self-forgiving. When you get to the end of the day and you have still not finished that paper or that online lesson or that chapter, recognise that this is not only about you, but a massive global shift that can leave us reeling. Feeling guilty is not helpful. So forgive, and make a plan for tomorrow.
  5. Again, be kind. As a species, we are taking baby steps into an uncertain future. When a baby falls after a couple of first steps, we remain delighted that walking is in fact possible, and applaud the attempt. Do this for yourself. You will get there, we all will, even if we are not too sure right now where “there” is!